Leicestershire Police is offering advice to people on how to minimise the chances of becoming victim of a stalker.
The Force is offering the advice on National Stalking Awareness Day (April 18). During the past year stalking has been made a distinct crime for the first time.
Detective Inspector Mark Parish heads the Force’s domestic violence unit. He said: “Stalking is the combination of a number of incidents which in isolation may not be that significant, but when combined can cause severe distress to the victim.
“This can include being followed, receiving unwanted and abusive phone calls or messages, and damage to property.
“We have been dealing with aspects of stalking for many years under the Harassment Act. So far we have used the new stalking legislation six times, which has resulted in two people being charged and one receiving a caution. The change in the law has given us another tool to help protect victims.”
DI Parish said that there police and support agencies could offer a range of options to deal with stalkers, including civil orders and prosecution.
He said members of the public could also take reasonable steps to minimise the chances of becoming victims of stalkers in the first place. These steps include:
•Being careful what information you share with people you don’t know, particularly online;
•Reviewing privacy settings on social networking sites where they are available;
•Regularly changing passwords, and never share them; and
•Using appropriate anti-virus and anti-spyware on personal computers.
If you are, or think you may be, the victim of stalking, you should:
•Get help and advice;
•Record all incidents, and save evidence such as unwanted texts, emails and voice mail messages;
•Consider obtaining a personal attack alarm; and
•Review your home security – which will also protect you against burglars.
If you think you are in immediate danger:
Call police on 999; If you are in a secure location, stay there; if not, go to a public place with lots of people and tell them what is happening.
For more information and advice, see: